Yonkers Joe hustles, setting up schemes to cheat at cards and dice. He has a girlfriend, Janice, but does he care about her or just need a partner in his cons? He's working out a scam of casinos, gathering intelligence in Atlantic City. The fly in the ointment is his son, Joe Jr., a mentally-challenged young man about to turn 21, aging out of a group home, belligerent as the move to an adult home and his father's lack of contact upset him. Joe Jr.'s counselor insists that Joe take his son for awhile to calm him down and prepare him for the transfer. Can a mentally-challenged, unloved kid make his way with grifters? Can a father discover new emotions? What about scamming the casinos? Written by
A great character study about a father and his son
I saw this at the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, Michigan.
Yonkers Joe stars Chazz Palminteri as the title character, a great con artist who makes a lot of money from working the tables at casinos. He and his girlfriend Janice (Christine Lahti) have a pretty good life. But then Joe gets a call from an institution telling him that his son Joe Jr. (Tom Guiry) who has Down's Syndrome is being disruptive there and thus must be taken out. Joe doesn't know how to take care of his son and this new change in his life is ruining a lot of his plans and ways of making money. Over time, the father and son try to live with each other while at the same time try to help each other out.
This film had a great cast. Palminteri was wonderful as Yonkers Joe, a conflicted and confused parent who doesn't know how to take care of his troubled son. Lahti is a delight trying to play the role of the one that hopes to ease the tension and make Joe Jr. feel like he's welcome. And Tom Guiry is excellent and very believable as Joe Jr. Someone after the screening even asked the director if the actor who played Joe Jr. really had Down's Syndrome. Guiry gives a lot of depth to the character, making Joe Jr. both entertaining and emotional.
There are many clever moments throughout the film, all of the con acts are fun to watch. The dialogue is well written and the plot unravels nicely. The scenes in Las Vegas are also very well shot in all of the different locations.
With a talented cast and crew, Yonkers Joe is a great and enjoyable film that people she really look out for.
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